I.A.M Strong. Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Not in my Army. Does this remind you of anything? These are the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program mottos. They are on every poster that are seemingly everywhere in the Army. If we are constantly Reminded by this, then why are there so many incidents of sexual harassment and assault in the Army? Is the program flawed? In this essay I will discuss the Army’s SHARP program, what it does correctly, what the program fails to do, and ways to improve overall to lower the amount of cases. Let’s start off with the bad, what the SHARP program fails at. In 2017 the Army reported an increase in sexual harassment incidents by 8.6% from 2016, the highest it has ever been. The Army and TRADOC introduced the SHARP program in late 2014 with the first class starting on October 6th that year. Several years later and the Army still has an increase in reports every year even with the constant classes and briefs we receive that define what sexual assault and sexual harassment is and what not to do.
The Army says that they are fully dedicated to eliminating sexual harassment yet we only receive a power point saying what it is considered and what not to do. AC Davis stood in to watch and listen to an annual Army mandatory classroom training and had this to say about it “The failure of the Army’s mandatory classes to adequately resolve these issues isn’t necessarily an indictment of PowerPoint…the Army is attempting to resolve systemic problems with an hour-long presentation instead of addressing root causes.” For an hour-long power point presentation, the class gives a lot of useful information that every soldier should uphold, remember, and take to heart. The class is very informative about what is considered sexual harassment. The course entails what they are, the differences between the two, what is considered, policies, penalties, gives scenarios and diagrams to distinct if an action is harassment or assault, and more. It does a good job of keeping the students active and incorporates their input with questions and videos. This power point and class does well in both giving great information and keeping soldiers interested and involved. That is a key component to prevent the soldier from falling asleep or getting bored and for them to retain as much information as possible so that they are aware of their actions. What SHARP can improve on.
They need to work on getting through to soldiers better, whether that’s adding additional courses sort of levels that go more in depth on on what is considered sexual harassment and sexual assault, ways to prevent it, what to do if the soldier spots its, and how to address it to someone such as a Sergeant. Sergeants need to take more control and be clearer and stricter on the actions of all that fall under them as well as being aware of other soldiers and their actions and behaviors and bring it to the attention of their leadership. In addition, non-commissioned officers should receive more advanced training dealing with how to address a situation. Their soldiers should trust in them with personal information and the confidence of the report being taken care of appropriately. In order to improve what we already have we first need to understand what is missing, what is going well, and what can be improved. I covered the facts that even though we have these outstanding programs we still see an increase in incidents. In order to reduce that we need to change the course to ensure everyone is fully trained on SHARP and that they need to be confident in reporting the case and trust their leadership to guide them. No parent nor no soldier should ever fear that while they serve their country and do their job that they may be taken advantage of and fall victim to the lust of their peers. I.A.M Strong, and Not in My Army should be the proud statement of every soldier in the Army.